Section Editor Nilab Siddiqi details her grapples with Australia’s infamous coffee culture and minimalistic cafes.
Have you ever been personally victimised by Australian coffee culture? It’s okay. You can be honest. This is a safe space.
Well, then! This is the right article for you.
I would be remiss if I did not preface this diatribe with a disclaimer that I, indeed, have a coffee every single day (I mean every day, without fail. Otherwise I throw a tanty). I love coffee! I love coffee so much I forked out an absurd amount of money on a Nespresso machine and milk frother, of which I lovingly use every morning. I need coffee. I just don’t understand coffee.
My first foray into coffee was getting the occasional caramel-something-or-other concoction from Gloria Jeans, and later, Starbucks, and so I never really understood the basics of coffee. Even now I barely know the difference between a cappuccino, latte, piccolo, black coffee, or whatever-the-fuck. The truth is, I just don’t care.
Yes, that’s right! I’m here to say it is not that serious.
I’m sick of walking into cafes and the only option I see on the shit-cunt minimalistic menu is ‘coffee’, followed by some options for tea. No shit you serve coffee, what kind of bloody coffee do you serve though? What’s the point of a menu if you’re not going to use it to list the items you sell?
You may be thinking, isn’t it just common sense? Well, you would think so, but unfortunately, many of us don’t crawl out of the womb knowing what kinds of coffee are made and sold. Sue me.
I will admit that I should have learnt my lesson by now, considering the amount of times I’ve fucked up a coffee order at various cafes. It’s just that I’ve always been too stubborn to search up a guide on what coffees are normal in Aussie cafes. It’s almost as if if I finally search it up on Google, that will confirm I’m a clueless idiot.
And so time and time again I leave cafes traumatised.
One day, I took a chance on the cozy looking cafe in the shopping centre before uni. I pull up the counter, take one good look at the beautifully detailed coffee menu (Huzzah! Is that so fucking hard cafe owners?) and ask for a fucking macchiato (I don’t know what a macchiato even is. Starbucks, I’m blaming you.)
I sit down at the little table, pull out my laptop and get to work. Eventually, I’m interrupted by a confused looking barista who places my drink and my almond croissant on the table and shuffles away.
“What the fuck is this?” I think as I look upon a little ceramic shot glass filled with what must be pure espresso. Next to it, my almond croissant looks like it’s about to devour everything in its orbit.
This is what a fucking macchiato is?
I hastily pull up Google and find a quaint little infographic depicting all the different kinds of coffees. Turns out, a macchiato is a shot of pure espresso with a tiny little splash of milk.
While blinking confusedly at my ceramic shot glass full of pure petrol, I feel a burning on the side of my head and turn to find its source. The barista who dropped off your drink is not-so-covertly staring at me, face dripping with amusement. He’s noticed I’m confused.
“The fucker thinks it funny, huh?” I say to myself.
And so, naturally, I spend the next hour delicately sipping from the small glass, eyes trained on my laptop so I don’t spontaneously start gagging at how bitter it is. All the while shoving pieces of my sweet croissant into my mouth the fend off the need to upend the contents of my stomach onto the table.
After defeating the macchiato, I place my laptop into my bag, stand up, say thank you to the barista and saunter off.
Coffee 0, me 1.
Okay! I admit, whether there’s a menu or not, I just don’t get it. It’s kinda my fault too. But! Aussie cafes shouldn’t make it so hard!
Thankfully, I’ve gotten better now, and have a go-to coffee order (A cappuccino for me, baby!), but I will say, Australian cafes would do wonders if the baristas didn’t take the coffee so seriously.
So if you see a youngster staring quizzically at tiny macchiato glass, mind your own damn business!